Sofia Aouine’s “Rhapsodie des Oubliés” or ‘Rhapsody of the Forgotten” will forever be remembered as winner of the prestigious Café de Flore Prize. The mythical Parisian café’s literary prize turns 25 years old this year and turned le Café de Flore into a moveable feast complete with its annual prize ceremony and dance party to honor Aouine’s first book. Each year, the Café transforms into a melting pot of culture as the literary and media worlds collide to fête the future of prose in a setting riddled with mythical moments of the past. Beigbeder took to the stage surrounded by his jury to bestow the prize to Aouine for her first novel about a young teenage boy living in a rough neighbourhood nicknamed la Goutte d’Or in Paris’ 18tharrondissement and published by La Martinière. “This is a way to unite the Right Bank and the Left Bank. I’m so moved. This prize is an homage to the forgotten ones from the Right Bank,” said Aouine, who takes home not only the famous 6,100 Euro prize, but also an engraved wine glass in her name and an unlimited supply of Pouilly Fumé wine for the year ahead. The Prix de Flore was created in 1994 at the initiative of Frédéric Beigbeder and Carole Chrétiennot to honor the long literary tradition of the Café de Flore (think: Guillaume Appollinaire, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein…) and distinguish a young author with promising talent. The selection criteria are “originality, modernity and youth.” Jury members also include: Jacques Braunstein, Manuel Carcassonne, Michèle Fitoussi, Jean-René van der Plaetsen, François Reynaert, Jean-Pierre Saccani, Bertrand de Saint Vincent, Christophe Tison, Philippe Vandel and Arnaud Viviant who all came to light up the Boulevard Saint Germain.Despite the cold, wet weather outside, a who’s who of personalities from both the Right Bank and the Left packed into the café for what is perhaps the most “Parisian” soirée of the year including Stéphane De Groodt, Jeanne Damas, Axelle Laffont, mayor of the 6tharrondissement Jean-Pierre Lecoq and more. The evening was part nostalgia for the literary history of the café itself and an embrace of the future of a more inclusive, diverse literary ode to the often “forgotten” parts of the city far from the Boulevard Saint Germain. Plus, as Beigbeder pointed out: “Reading a book is far more interesting than taking selfies for Instagram.” In the words of Prix de Flore founder Carole Chrétiennot, “Long live the Prix de Flore!”

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